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Birthday Post: 33 And Better

My aunt asked me a few days before my birthday, “How old will you be this year?” Without flinching, I proudly said “Thirty three!” My cousin-in-law laughed and said, “You’re too honest! You should have said twenty seven!” (I could have said 8.25, actually. The advantages of being a leap year baby!)

I was getting old, and somehow, I didn’t feel the need to deny it! I mean, sure, I’m not too pleased about the drawbacks of getting older – the fats are much harder to lose now, for instance – but I was actually looking forward to blowing my birthday candles this year. I guess that’s an indication that I am happy with my life!

Yep, Geraldine is my full first name!
February birthday babies! (Okay, only one of us is a baby. Me.)

To be honest, I like myself more now that I am older. Sometimes, I look back on my teenage years and twenties, and I cringe… and not just because of some of my choices in fashion.

In my twenties, I was in a state of panic because I thought, “I should have everything figured out by now!” But I haven’t. I was making so many dumb decisions. I hated my job, so I moved on to a new one. I hated that too. I also hated the one after that.

And now, here I am at 33. By this time, I should be able to say “I finally have everything figured out!” Well, no, I haven’t. Actually, Mike and I were chatting about our lives one day. We realized that everyone around us is rich… except for us! We have family members that book a flight to an exciting destination whenever they get itchy feet, while we have to save for a trip for an entire year – one trip, maybe two, if we’re lucky. I have friends who live in the kind of houses you’d see on Elle Decor, friends who are planning a lavish wedding while still being able to go on grand vacations, and friends who are living it large because of their thriving businesses. (I have no idea why I attract rich friends! I wish some of their wealth would rub off on me!) And me? Thirty three years old and I don’t have my own home, I don’t own a car, I don’t have hundreds of thousands of cash stored in the bank, I don’t even have my own child (yet), and I blog about travel even if I don’t actually travel as often as I should. When I compare myself with people around me, I do feel a little left behind. It makes me feel like I don’t have much to show for my life.

Immediately, I found the solution – not the solution to the “problem” but the solution to my attitude. “STOP COMPARING YOURSELF TO OTHERS!” my inner voice said. No kidding, comparison really is the thief of joy!

Okay, I lied. I did do some more comparing after that. Twice.

Comparing Myself With Others

First, I compared myself with others who may not be as fortunate as me. First, I asked myself some questions and then answered my own questions. (Gollum, is that you?)

“Do you have a family?”

Yes, an amazing and loving one. No wait, make that two amazing and loving families. (Mine and my husband’s).

“Are you with someone?”

Yes. Married! HAPPILY married! I have the best husband in the world!

“Got any friends?”

Just a few, but they are wonderful, and they are all I really need.

“Do you have a job?”

As a matter of fact, #ilovemyjob and people say that I’m pretty good at it. Heehee. (Blushes)

“Do you have food on the table?”

A little too much food, actually! I couldn’t diet even if I tried.

“So what the hell is your problem?”


Okay, I got it.

I am still luckier than some people. I am not saying that I am better than them (not at all!), but if I ask them the questions I asked myself, I bet not all of them can say “yes!” to everything. Not everyone has a job, or a complete set of parents, or a spouse they can come home to after a long day.

Birthday celebration with my family
Another birthday dinner, with friends this time.

Bonus question: “Do you have a pet?”

I have a sweet and cute guinea pig that takes away my stress!

Comparing Myself With Myself

Years ago, I couldn’t even fry an egg. Fast forward to now, and I’m cooking gourmet meals for my husband!

Years ago, my professional life didn’t seem to have any clear direction. I jumped from one unfulfilling job to another. Now, I get to do what I love and be a blessing to others.

I haven’t figured everything out yet, but I have become better… much better than what I used to be and where I was before.


I’m more “together” than I was before. So yeah, I think I’m doing all right after all.

Image from Lifehack

A New Perspective

Sometimes, I am a little too hard on myself.

There are still times when I question myself, my life, and my abilities. When I read all the sweet birthday greetings on Instagram and Facebook, I saw myself through other people’s eyes.

  • ♥ “You don’t know how proud I am of you. The way you live life, embrace its imperfections, and turn them to stories of inspiration. Apart from your many talents, you make people feel wonderful inside, and that is one amazing gift!”
  • “So blessed and honored to know you. Your life is a huuuge inspiration. Keep on being such a sunlight to everybody.”
  • “It’s so rare to find people who would go out of their way to be REALLY there for you – to listen to you, make you see your good side when you yourself can’t, to make you feel like you’re not alone, and to give you an ego boost… Thank you for always remembering to give me a dose of positivity and encouragement.”
  • “Happy birthday to the one who helped make our special day VERY memorable, and did more than just hosting! You are such a blessing to us, Nadine! Salamat!”

After reading these greetings, I realized that I should probably give myself more credit. Maybe I AM doing something right in my life.

Every year, life seems to surprise me. It just keeps getting better. That’s why I know that the best is yet to come. Knowing that, here’s what I’m going to do: I’m going to live life at my own pace, and be thankful for it. I may not have everything that I want right now, but I do have everything that I need.

Unlimited sushi, a date with my husband, a guinea pig to come home to after my birthday dinner, simple celebrations with my family and closest friends, and another year to live?! I am one #blessed birthday girl!
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  1. 33 is a good number. Coincidentally, I was watching YouTube videos a while ago on a legend. Larry Bird, NBA great, wears no. 33. LOL.

    So, after reading your post, Nadine, I was thinking about comparing yourself with others. Sure, you could compare yourself to the more fortunate ones, and then feel a little down. On the flip side, you could compare yourself to the less fortunate ones, and then you are supposed to feel justified? But that is what people do. It is human nature to compare.

    I think the real struggle is in shifting the mindset from one of comparing to admiration with the intention of learning. What I mean by that is this. Rather than comparing one’s self to others, I would like to admire people for their successes and at the same time, instead of asking why them and not me, I should be asking, what did they do, how did they think, to be successful. From that, I would draw inspiration.

    For the truth about one’s self is this. Success and being happy is all in the mind.

  2. First of all, a VERY happy birthday to you! After reading the whole post, I did a little introspection and I must say your words couldn’t have fallen on better ears, haha. You’ve accomplished a lot, and I love how honest you are in saying you haven’t figured it all out yet. I’m turning 25 this April, and I am already scared about disappointing other people. You mentioned learning to stop comparing ourselves to others, and I agree it’s a struggle to do. Out of all the take-aways to be had from this lovely post of yours, it’s that one way of realizing you’ve progressed so much is comparing yourself to your past self. I think that’s pure genius. 🙂 People have gone through different experiences than you, and comparing yourself to them is like comparing the process of baking a cake to cooking a really complex meal. Hahaha. Sorry this is such a long comment but I could really relate to this!

    Again, happy birthday and more success to you!

  3. You’re in your 30s? It looks like you’re on your early 20s! ANyway, thank you for this post. I am in my 20s and in the same state as you are when you are my age. I’m currently feeling depressed for not having figured out anything yet. I am not sure if I should continue my home-based job or get a regular office job. At least, this post comforts me in a way, knowing that what I’m experiencing right now is completely normal.
    Bernadette Angelie Pangilinan recently posted…Pepper Lunch – SM Mall of AsiaMy Profile

  4. You sure don’t look like 33! Happy birthday and thanks for making me realize that I am not alone in this adulthood figuring out thing.. I am 26 and I feel like I’m doing it all wrong but reading your post makes me feel normal, hihi.. you rock! thanks

  5. First of all a very happy birthday to you! 🙂 You happy infectious post has rubbed in a lot of positivity in me. You are right – one must compete with oneself that brings in improvement, comparison with others brings in nothing but misery. You are looking gorgeous with that happy smile. 🙂
    Indrani recently posted…Faces of India – 306 from Bikaner, RajasthanMy Profile

  6. You don’t look like you’re 33! You have an amazing skin and you look so young. I love your perspective when you were asked about your age. People nowadays tend to brush off topics about age. What’s the problem with the age anyway. It’s just a number. What’s important is your outlook in life and I love yours. Happiest birthday to you!

  7. “Every year, life seems to surprise me” … If you love what you’re doing, life will surely surprise you. It may be small or something big, it’s a guarantee. We’re almost of the same age and I can say that by the time I step foot on my 30’s, life seems to be more challenging and exciting.
    Herbert Kikoy recently posted…Blogger Spotlight: Ariel Samangka of The Little LaiMy Profile

  8. You made me smile, actually giggle a bit. First of all, Happy Belated Birthday! …what a great age, girl! I am 56 now, feel like 36 (although my joints start reminding me in the mornings), I used to employ young ladies ( I had a lovely cocktail bar), who became great friends, a bit like my younger sisters or so. They are your age now and are experiencing the same that you do, that I did 20 odd years ago, that probably all women go through. They never wanted to have kids, every single one of them is a proud mother now :), some of two even… they never could cook ..they cook fresh fruit and food for their children now. This is the life and it is so wonderful, I love the end of your post most. Being thankful, caring about family and friends, appreciation … All is perfectly good, look at yourself, you will still look great when you’re 63, I am sure about.
    klaudia recently posted…Natural Beauty Tips For The Face & Body – Fit Firm and Fabulous in Just 5 Simple StepsMy Profile

  9. happy birthday! everytime my birthday comes, I feel so blessed. i don’t count my age by the numbers but by the achievements…

  10. Happy birthday! I’m still in my twenties though. LOL, but honestly, since you’re a Leap year baby, maybe you were telling people that you’re only 8 years old? hahaha!

    And figuring one’s life isn’t really easy. I actually made a post about that when I was really frustrated about how my life is going on – just because I hated my work. Lol Here’s the post –

    I’m only 25 and yet I already hated my job. Geez. XD

  11. You are really amazing person by heart, and you look so pretty.
    and yeah wish you a belated happy birthday.
    Cheers 🙂
    Aanchal Iyer recently posted…Essential Travel Checklist for Solo TravelersMy Profile

  12. Hi I’m Michelle based in Dubai . You’re such a sweet lady and have a beautiful heart. I was inspired by your perfect family.
    Michelle Dela Cerna recently posted…Things To Do In DubaiMy Profile

    1. Thank you for the kind comment! 🙂

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